Walter Baum and His Circle Exhibition 3.29.12

For Immediate Release
March 3, 2012
Media Contact:
Chris Potash
(610) 432-4333 ext. 125


Area art icon Walter Baum and friends captured the color of Allentown and surroundings

The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley celebrates the 250th Anniversary of Allentown and 200th Anniversary of Lehigh County with an exhibition of works by Walter Emerson Baum (1884-1956) and his artist friends. Walter Baum and His Circle illustrates how some downtown neighborhoods have changed even as the Lehigh Valley has maintained a sense of the pastoral, surrounded as it is with farms and fields.

Some of the landmark scenes included in the show:

--Hamilton Street from the 1950sby Walter Emerson Baum

--Lawrence Street from the 1930s by Walter J. Mattern (1891–1946)

--two different views of the 8th Street Bridgefrom 1932, by Walter Emerson Baum and John Berninger (1897-1981)

--Houses on Fourth Street from 1957 by Nolan Benner Jr. (1922-1998)

--Fifth Street, North of Chew Streetfrom the 1980s by Edgar S. Baum (1916­–2006)

--Train Station, Allentown from about 1970 by Lee Everett (1919-2011)

--Barn with Pennsylvania-German Decoration from the 1940s by William Swallow(1912-1962)


Walter Baum helped to found the Baum School of Art and the Allentown Art Museum and served as the Museum’s first director, from 1936 to 1956. Like Baum, some of the early Museum Trustees were artists and they are represented in this exhibition, including John Berninger, Clarence Dreisbach, Walter Mattern, and Melville Stark. The Pennsylvania German heritage of our region is particularly apparent in the work of William Swallow. The paintings of Nolan Benner Jr. continued the Trustee/artist tradition of dedication to the success of the Art Museum after it opened in 1959 on Fifth Street.

The exhibition Walter Baum and His Circle ranges in dates from the 1920s to the 1980s. The different styles and subject matter are shown in painting, drawing, prints and sculpture.

Walter Baum and His Circleis being curated by Martha “Missy” Hutson-Saxton, PhD, an art historian and author of the book Walter Emerson Baum: Pennsylvania Artist and Founder of the Baum School of Art and Allentown Art Museum. The exhibit is currently on view in the Payne Hurd Gallery on the Museum’s ground floor and remains up until May 13, at the same time as the attendance-breaking exhibit Who Shot Rock & Roll is running in the Museum’s upstairs galleries.


Related Programming

May 2, 2012

Gallery Talk


Walter Baum and His Circle: Views of Allentown and Lehigh County

Missy Saxton, PhD, offers historical and curatorial insight into the exhibit. This gallery talk is FREE with Museum admission.


May 3, 2012
Gallery Talk
6:00 PM
Nolan P. Benner Jr.: Landscape Paintings and Watercolors of the Lehigh Valley and the Caribbean
Join Missy Saxton, PhD, as she illuminates the work of Nolan Benner, who loved the landscape of the Lehigh Valley.


May 9, 2012

Lecture and Reception

6:00 PM

The Walter Baum Legacy: Past, Present, Future

Missy Saxton, PhD, speaks at 6:00 PM at the Baum School of Art, 510 West Linden Street, followed immediately by a reception across the street (Fifth Street) at The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley. RSVP by May 4, 2012, to 610-433-0032.